A new design competition has presented a series of challenges over roughly two months to use GreenPAK technology to make configurable mixed-signal ICs (CMICs).

Efabless has introduced a series of design challenges, called the Go Configure Design Challenge Series, in which participants are asked to design a mixed signal IC in a limited timeframe using Silego GreenPAK configurable chip technology. At stake is over $15,000 in prizes, spread out over ten challenges launched two at a time every two weeks throughout the series.

Ranked in terms of complexity, Efabless offers level 1, 2, or 3, and challenges increase in difficulty throughout the series.

The design period for the first challenges began on October 2nd and will accept submissions until October 16th when the next challenge will begin. A new challenge will be announced each two weeks until November 27th.

 

A Contest Overview

Participants are asked to complete design submissions within the two weeks following the beginning of the challenge, and each is subject to an evaluation by Silego based on outlined criteria. To be considered, a design must meet a minimum set of requirements.

Entrants are welcome to submit multiple designs or even provide updates to their designs for each challenge, though only the last submission will be considered for awards.

Efabless does look at time for the last challenge when evaluating projects for "Time-to-Market awards" which are given to the first three submissions that meet certain standards according to their complexity. In the event of a tie, time will also be considered. 

Recipients receive prizes and badges for each challenge, each challenge series, and for completing designs that are later approved.

 

Timeline

The first two challenges began on October 2nd and wrap up on October 15, when a new set of challenges begins. In early December, the competition series will complete and efabless will award the prizes. While the time it takes to complete a challenge will vary by individual and experience level, Silego estimates that the first challenge will take approximately six hours.

 

Image courtesy of Efabless.com.

 

How to Enter

To enter, participants need to register on efabless.com and download GreenPAK Designer.

 

GreenPAK Designer. Image courtesy of Silego

 

Next, they select a challenge, complete it, submit a Soft Design and accompanying documentation, and wait for results!

 

Prizes

All participants who submit a design that receives at least 75 points get a GreenPAK Development Kit and a Silego shirt or hat. The top three submissions in each challenge get a Challenge Award Badge and are listed on the efabless website. Ties go to those who submitted their design earlier. The top finisher receives their choice of a Polar M430 GPS Running Watch, Garmin vivoactive HR GPS Smart Watch, JBL Extreme Bluetooth Speaker, or Jabra Elite Sport Bluetooth Earbuds.

 

Image courtesy of Efabless.com.

 

For the "Time-to-Market" awards, the first three submissions that achieve a score of 95 or higher out of a possible 100 are eligible for Amazon giftcards—$750, $500, and $250 for first, second, and third places for Level 3, $500, $250, and $100 for Level 2, and $200, $100, $50 for Level 1. Prizes that go unawarded will roll over and add to higher levels.

Finally, the top design scores will be entered into a raffle to receive an Apple HomePod and the top-ranked contestant on the leaderboard receives either a Macbook or a Microsoft Surface.

 

Scoring

Silego scores against a set of 20 criteria spread across four categories. A design can score between three and five points in each for a max score of 100 points per design. More specific criteria can be found here, but include things like VDD Range, Operating Current, and Logic Configuration.

 

About GreenPAK Programmable Mixed-Signal Matrix

GreenPAK is a one-time programmable device that allows for the integration of a variety of system functions. Silego says that it is cost-effective, minimizes component count, board space, and power consumption. The software enables a complete graphic design process, which gives the designer the ability to configure, program, and test GreenPAK samples in minutes.

GreenPAK is advertised as a great solution for bringing applications to the IoT market and writes that they “enable the accelerated, low-cost delivery of customized mixed-signal ICs required for these applications. GreenPAK is also ideal as a functional replacement of popular mixed-signal standard products, often in combination.”

 

The SLG46169/70V CMIC. Image courtesy of Silego.

 

If you've already entered or plan to enter, please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

 

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